Hospitality. The word has been on my mind recently.
Over the weekend, my husband and I went to the closing reception for an exhibition at Still Point, a new art gallery in our area. For this exhibition, nineteen artists came together with their offerings of paint, charcoal, spices, mixed media, ink, gold and silver leaf, fabric, and print—all of them around the theme, “Hospitality.”
When curator Jill Carattini talked with the artists about hospitality, she said they spoke “of making space, of seeing the unnoticed or the ordinary, the self and the stranger.”
Some of the ways the artists explored the theme included a charcoal drawing of a couple who look at their phones while they embrace; a man carrying a bucket of water on his shoulder, walking through a light that makes the moment sublime; a young woman whose stance and small bowl of water suggests the woman at the well in the Bible; Mary, mother of Jesus, saying yes to God, inviting Him into her life, herself.
There was beauty in the art we saw. And through it, I came to see with fresh eyes the beauty inherent in hospitality, in the act of noticing and welcoming.
The exhibition made me think beyond the usual definition of hospitality. It goes beyond having people over for a meal, although that’s an important part of it. It’s also about making room for people in our lives, maybe for just a moment in time—the barista who makes our coffee, the cashier who rings up our purchase. Or inviting someone into our lives for a longer period—new people at church or work, parent friends from soccer, neighbors.
I confess I don’t always do this well, but I want to get better. I want to make space for others, extend a hand, and help them feel welcome in that moment, wherever we are.
So, welcome. My name is LeAnne Martin. I’m very glad you’re here. Hope you stay awhile.
What do you think of when you hear the word hospitality? Have you had an experience with hospitality that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email.
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